Collateral Damage: Story of a Broken Palestinian.


written & imagined by Ali Ishtiaq

My world was small. It was just me, my lovely wife and two little ones – a boy and a girl. It was a joy to see these flowers blossoming under the shade of the sheer love that my wife and I  have for each other. In the milieu, where the death was hankering over us like a hawk prowling over the coup of chickens, every sense of fear fades away whenever I came back home and heard the two different voices simultaneously and in a single rhythm echoing the word that made my existence immortal in the midst of all the fleeting pleasures of this terrestrial life; the word that is known by innumerable names having infinite face all over the planet but contains a single meaning that gives us courage to say ‘Yes’ to life when things are falling apart and we are left with no where to go. “Daddy”, they both scream in unison and race with each other to hug me; then came the turn of that all embracing magical kiss from my love that gave my soul a new life as if I was just raised from the dead by the touch of the Christ.

Few days back, I heard news that ravished my heart and consumed all the happiness of my life. I ran towards hospital with all the speed my old car could gather. What I saw was something that still haunts me; my mind is repeating those images again and again as if they just keep on happening in front of my eyes all the time. Hospital was flooded with dead bodies and wounded civilians with incomplete picture of their physical self, I barely saw anyone related from any sense to the armed forces. One of the guy told me that my wife and my son died on the spot but my daughter was still breathing, although, she was almost going to embrace the death. My eyes ran all over the place and at last I saw my daughter lying unconsciously in the midst of many other wounded children; the hall was filled with frightening cries as if I was entered in to Dante’s Inferno, the only difference was that this hell was burning with the flesh of the innocent. The face of my little princess was hardly and she had also lost her right arm. I cried with all my might “Doctor!!!!!….” as if the angel of death had mercilessly pulled my soul out of my bones; but the only reply I received was that there were too few doctors to cater this flood of patients and the medical facility was also at its bare minimum, for the enemy had blocked every kind of food and medical supply in to the country. What?!!! I yelled, “For God sake!!! She has no enemy; she is too innocent to afford an enemy, BELIEVE ME, she has nothing to do with animosity; I might be the culprit, you might be the culprit but she…she is absolutely innocent, please help her.” But I know my plea was just thrown back upon me by the concrete walls of the hospital. “Just wait my princess, Daddy will not let you die like this, I know you are listening, please hold your breadth, Daddy loves you a lot.” These were my last sentences to her, for I suddenly felt her face getting cold, I bent with all the hope in the world to listen to just a fading beat from her heart but the angel of death had already won the race, there was nothing to be heard. I remained in that posture for God knows how many hours for my soul went to the oblivion to search for the spirit of my princess in the realm of archetypes.

O Readers! Bear with me for a while, let me gather myself for my heart is bleeding heavily, loosing much of the blood that is required by my hand to move.

I am not writing this to gain sympathies just for myself, Yes, I want you to sympathize but sympathize for the whole humanity that is standing on the brink of destruction. The next missile could easily be targeted to your house, it does not matter where you are residing on the planet, it all depends on the whims of the powerful. I want to tell those sitting at the other side of the fence that I absolutely adore children – they are the beloved of All Mighty God – no matter whether they are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists or belongs to any other race or religion. They are completely free of the blood that splits in the name of any ideology. Look, the blood of our children are as red as yours, can you see any difference? The innocence on their face is as visible as in the face of your children, can you see any difference? But I will tell you that your actions will ruin the future of children living at both sides, for the fire of hate will consume everything.

I also want to tell those who take me as their opponent that I am deeply in love with womankind, for how can I claim to love my deceased wife without admiring the essential nature of woman in general. They are the brightest reflection of the mercy of the All Merciful on this earth; by killing them you are doing nothing but making this planet devoid of mercy.

Sitting in the centrally air conditioned room and creating havoc by just pressing a button can easily create with in you a falls notion of a video game or dropping bombs from thousands feet above the ground and then run away without looking back at your own atrocities could easily make you indifferent but I will beg you to just visit once in your life time personally to the place that you have mercilessly rocketed just couple of hours ago, I will bet that even the ardent enemy of humanity could not withstand the site, he will feel their sinless blood on his hand and keeps washing them like remorseful Macbeth; or he might, if God willing, undergo an incredible metamorphosis, just like King Ashoka, who devoted his life to the service of the Creator and his creation after he had seen the grotesque image of human suffering that he had carved with his own merciless hands at the battle field. Remember, King Ashoka was also known as the greatest tyrant of his time but he could not endure the site of his own atrocities and left his memory to the world as one of the most ardent servant of humanity. Therefore, with that spirit, I invite you to see the disastrous consequences of just a push of a button, so in future you will think for a million of times before pushing it.

My actual motive behind this effort is to warn those who have all the power to check the forces of evil but who choose to remain silent spectators, that essentially make them the passive ally of the oppressors, no matter how much they feel they are innocent, for their tacit silence gives all the courage to the perpetrators of evil to openly attack the feeble part of mankind as they fully realize that the so called allies of good are comfortably sleeping in their palaces; they are completely engrossed in spending all their energy and money to fulfill the pleasures of their vanity without throwing a farthing to relieve their own people out of misery. These are the real hypocrites who will be grabed by their necks and thrown in to the basest part of the hell.

My fellow Palestinians, although, the painful death of our women and children will be recorded in the files of history as a mere Collateral Damage, but have faith in God, for what kind of faith we have if it only exists when the time is with us; wait for the obliteration of time, for the Final Judgment has not yet arrive.

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